Sensei Story: Jay Goldman

Jay Goldman, Co-Founder & CEO

Jay talks leadership, travel, and food

Sensei Labs Co-Founder and CEO Jay Goldman answers rapid-fire questions from his SenseiOS profile and shares his thoughts on leadership, our team, book recommendations (besides his own, The Decoded Company), his extensive travels, food, and more!

Get to know Jay in this first ever Sensei Story!


00:03 [Chelsea] Hey Jay!
00:04 Oh hey Chelsea!
00:05 [Chelsea] Thanks so much for being our very first Sensei Story.
00:06 Yeah, my pleasure.
00:07 [Chelsea] As the Co-Founder and CEO of Sensei Labs, sum up your leadership philosophy in five words.
00:12 I would say: enabling everyone else to be successful.
00:16 [Chelsea] What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever been given?
00:19 Focus on your team it is all about them.
00:21 [Chelsea] Favorite part of the office?
00:23 I love the standing desk because I get to stand instead of sitting but also I get to be out here with the whole team instead of locked away in an office.
00:28 [Chelsea] Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?
00:30 Steve Jobs. I love Apple products, but also Bill Gates for all the amazing work he’s doing to change the world as part of his philanthropy.
00:36 [Chelsea] Sheryl Sandberg or Susan Wojcicki?
00:38 Susan Wojcicki.
00:40 [Chelsea] Elon Musk or Nicholas Tesla?
00:41 Oh. I definitely have to represent the OG.
00:44 [Chelsea] What’s special about our team?
00:45 The people. Our people are amazing and actually some of them are waiting for me in a meeting so do you want to come with me while we.
00:50 [Jeremy] One second Jay – I need to ask you: Which Sensei cultural value do you most identify with?
00:54 I would say selflessness it is all about our team.
00:57 [Jeremy] Thank you very much.
00:58 Thank you Jer.
00:58 Let’s go grab a coffee.
00:59 [Chelsea] Great! Based on your SenseiOS profile questions, what’s one word to describe you?
01:04 Dymaxion.
01:06 [Chelsea] Morning, afternoon, or night?
01:07 Night, definitely.
01:08 [Chelsea] Hidden talent?
01:09 Untangling knots.
01:11 [Chelsea] Greatest accomplishment?
01:12 My daughter Sophie.
01:13 [Chelsea] Tim Hortons or Starbucks?
01:14 Starbucks.
01:15 [Chelsea] Coffee or tea?
01:16 Coffee and actually I’m gonna grab one right now.
01:20 [Chelsea] Essential laptop bag items?
01:21 Chargers – you can never have enough of them.
01:23 [Chelsea] Hey, tell me – what’s up with this cake?
01:25 Oh actually we have a really international team so one of our folks got a Canadian citizenship today and we had a little celebration.
01:32 [Chelsea] Nice. What advice you’d give to candidates who want to join us?
01:34 Definitely have questions ready to ask us.
01:37 [Chelsea] I see we have a little area here for The Decoded Company, the book that you co-authored. Besides The Decoded Company, what’s a great business book that every leader should read?
01:46 I would say High Output Management by Andy Grove it’s old and the technology is a little out-of-date but the management advice is incredible.
01:53 [Chelsea] Fav non-business book of all time?
01:55 I read a lot of fiction books I read a sort of near future dystopian novel called Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. That was amazing.
02:04 [Chelsea] What’s a book you read because everyone else was reading it?
02:07 I try not to read books that everybody else is reading but I would say Game of Thrones I started reading them but then I ended up watching the show because everyone else was watching it.
02:15 [Chelsea] What book influenced you most as a child?
02:17 The Hobbit I actually read it with my dad and it was the book that he taught me to read on we had a beautiful illustrated copy of it.
02:25 [Chelsea] You were born in South Africa, right?
02:25 Ya.
02:27 [Chelsea] How old were you when you moved to Canada?
02:29 I was about 18 months old.
02:31 [Chelsea] What do you like better about Canada?
02:33 My parents actually left South Africa because of apartheid so this was an opportunity to move to a country where everybody had an equal opportunity and I love that about our country.
02:41 [Chelsea] If I had 24 hours to spend in Cape Town where should I go and what should I do?
02:45 You should definitely climb Table Mountain the view from the top is absolutely incredible but I would also say there are amazing beaches and restaurants so if you like to go and hang out on beach you can have all kinds of great food at the same time.
02:57 [Chelsea] Cool. What’s the story with this shirt?
02:59 This shirt I was actually given in South Africa. We were there visiting one of our customers and they gave everybody at this conference President Mandela inspired shirts so I brought mine back and we hung it in our Sensei Museum.
03:11 [Chelsea] What’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?
03:14 Best trip I’ve been on… I got to go to Mongolia and camp in the desert for about 10 days it was amazing.
03:20 [Chelsea] What’s something that surprised you about another culture?
03:23 When I was speaking in Dubai we were advised before we went on stage that you have to always keep your feet on the floor because showing the soles of your feet is considered rude.
03:33 [Chelsea] Where do you most want to go next?
03:35 I would love to spend more time in Asia I’ve travelled a lot of the rest of the world but I haven’t got a chance to spend a lot of time in that region.
03:40 [Chelsea] Essential travel item?
03:42 Passport obviously because you can’t get into countries without it but I love to take photos – I’m a bit of an amateur photographer so a camera or my phone or whatever I’ve got on hand.
03:51 [Chelsea] Window or aisle?
03:52 Aisle.
03:53 [Chelsea] Beach vacation or foodie tour?
03:55 Foodie tour.
03:56 [Chelsea] East Coast or West Coast?
03:57 East Coast.
03:58 [Chelsea] Air Canada or Porter?
03:59 Air Canada for the mileage but Porter for the convenience.
04:02 [Chelsea] I see we have lots of snacks on our Sharing Table, can I offer you some beef jerky?
04:06 Oh actually I don’t eat meat.
04:08 [Chelsea] Oh! How long have you been vegetarian?
04:09 About ten years.
04:10 [Chelsea] Anything you miss about your carnivorous days?
04:13 I really liked jerk chicken.
04:15 [Chelsea] Best vegetarian-friendly restaurant?
04:18 I was in Zurich and I actually had a chance to eat up the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world which was pretty amazing.
04:22 [Chelsea] Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
04:24 I ate yaks milk cheese once I wouldn’t recommend it.
04:28 [Chelsea] Any vegetables you don’t like?
04:29 No, I’m a pretty equal-opportunity vegetarian I eat them all.
04:33 So I gotta get to my meeting why don’t we head this way.
04:36 [Chelsea] What’s a charity that’s important to you?
04:38 We do quite a lot of work with WE and they do amazing work around the world.
04:41 [Chelsea] What’s the deal with these trophies?
04:43 These were actually trophies we used to give out as part of celebrating our Sensei cultural values. We don’t do that anymore, we’ve moved on to other recognition but we keep them here in the Sensei Museum for everyone to see.
04:53 [Chelsea] What’s the best compliment you’ve ever been given?
04:55 I’ve been told that I’m the best manager that people have had and that’s really important to me because that means I’m helping them to grow and develop.
05:02 [Chelsea] What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
05:04 Life from my mom – thanks mom.
05:07 [Chelsea] What’s one skill that you would love to master?
05:09 I would love to learn how to play the trumpet.
05:12 [Chelsea] What’s top on your bucket list right now?
05:14 More travel definitely. I love to travel. Maybe that trip to Asia even.
05:19 [Chelsea] Last question: What’s your biggest wish for our team in the year ahead?
05:22 Tons of growth – we’re gonna hire lots of new Senseis and that makes lots of opportunities for existing team to move into new roles and everybody gets a chance to grow and develop.
05:30 But I got to get into this meeting so thanks a lot Chelsea!
05:33 [Chelsea] Thanks Jay!


The Entrepreneur’s Story Podcast

Sensei Labs

Our Co-founder and CEO, Jay Goldman, sat down with host Dennis Crowley to chat about his story and how our company came to be. They talked about Jay’s experience in building and growing Sensei Labs and his experience as the New York Times Best Selling author of the book The Decoded Company.

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